Have you ever walked into a room and just felt out of place, or even cross a threshold and felt unwelcome. I have. All throughout high school I felt like a mere foot note on the lives of my classmates. I did not know where my decisions would lead me or what goals I was reaching for. I heard stories of kids my age “reaching for the heavens and landing among the stars” as great achievers and of young adults coming from nothing to achieve everything. What was my everything? What am I going to do to hear my name echo on the voices of the masses, or am I destined to be just another raindrop in the storm of humanity.
Everyday I woke up and prepared for school with my routine of putting on what I could not pick out as being sweat drenched or stained and eating a blueberry donut from a local convenience store. Upon stepping on school grounds, I already felt this ominous presence as if a mysterious person was watching me from afar and only worsened as I breeched the schools doors, swimming through the sea of adolescence among my peers. The pressure produce here is hardly acceptable for a learning environment with all the competitions and drive to be more successful than the poor soul forced to perform the same task as you sitting only three inches away. Success then being marked with a grade by the excellent grading system based on intelligence required, participation and remembering tasks we never want to do. I sit in my cold porcelain chair with metal bars thinking to myself “What happened to the days where I counted the seconds to recess? I miss the days where I could engorge myself on cheap pizza and hard grilled cheese sandwiches only to go outside and run until I was sick. Then, like a wave crashing on the beach, the years of my life thus far rushed through my mind in nothing but a moment. I looked down at my shabby desk with words scribbled and jagged lines cut into the desk to hide their meaning and think to myself, “What short straw did I pull that gave up my right to run for this three-walled prison that I cannot escape.”
School at this point is nothing more than one stressful day surrounded by more stressful days both before and after it with no real relief from the mundane and unmemorable academic related projects. Though I feel leaving this repetitiveness would be more harmful then helpful. It gives me a sort of security in knowing that tomorrow can only be as terrible as today. Then, with no warning at all, my eyes land upon this figure that sends urges through my system I cannot explain and makes my heart race as if I am terrified of what may happen next. I find myself mesmerized by the way it flows. The very presence of this wonder is enough to make my muscles ache with anticipation. My fingers itch to know what the skin feels like; soft and smooth like a well-kept blanket or course and callused from years of use. It walks as if it were paid to glide along and produce graceful steps that would draw the attention of anyone with eyeshot.
A year goes by and I have learned to love the presence of this individual as they make the day seem less of what I remembered it to be. They challenge everything I do and speak to me in a way that gives me a sense of security and trust that speaking to this person will fix all my problems and that they will always make things easier for me. I often ask myself is this the love I am looking for or do I feel this way about them because they can distract me from the problems I have every day. Letting yourself get distracted from your everyday problems does not fix them but just puts them off until you are forced to deal with them. I often told myself that this was the case that no love could be found in this situation so I steer clear. I attack them and attempt to abolish what they continuously attempt to keep strong. Day in and day out I insult them and tell them they are nothing more than a vile manipulator expressing my distaste for being forced to avoid what I know I cannot. However, why is it every time we fight I can feel at peace. Is it that even in fighting I find myself eased from the burdens of my living.
The final year of high school is closing in and I have changed so much from that first day of feeling unwelcome. Now I parade through the halls being greeted around every corner and seeing faces that smile back welcoming the very air I bring with me but I must leave now. I graduate and join my classmates in the ritual of running from home to join another school and meet a variety of people just like me. Reluctantly I say goodbye to my classmates that I have bonded with over the years and learned to love the people they are and the person they describe me as being. The final day of classes has finally arrived and it is a day that most will look back on as being one of the most upsetting days of their lives. It has not set it yet but the one I cannot live without must disappear from my sight, as I will from theirs. I see them standing across from me winking from time to time to show me that I am in their thoughts. I wave back to let them know I see their always friendly gestures. I guess you could say my plan to rid my life of this person who upset me so did not go as planned and they still corrupt most of my thoughts. They approach me at the end of the ceremony in which we receive acknowledgement for our achievements over the last four years and asks me, “Are you sad?” my stone emotionless reputation won’t allow me to say yes but I hate lying, “Depends on what you’re asking?” my simpleton response to attempt to avoid the situation. “You are aren’t you? I can tell because you will not look at me. It’s ok to be upset you know that it was bound to happen anyways,” they say. “Is that honestly supposed to make it easier?” my obviously upset response changed the mood rather quickly. “Then I won’t say goodbye.” They hug me and with that, my insides liquefy and I can no longer feel sadness but I am trapped in this horrible maelstrom of joy and discontent for the situation. A few days go by and I find myself at my new home; a hot and dry sandbox of a city. I walk up to the new building where I should find the knowledge I am seeking and stand at the door staring at the bricks and the way they are laid out. Have you ever walked into a room and just felt out of place, or even cross a threshold and felt unwelcome.
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